Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has called on NATO to prioritize promoting a ceasefire and peace talks in Ukraine rather than continuing to supply weapons to Kiev. In a video posted on social media, Orban emphasized the need for peace negotiations to begin as soon as possible to replace the ongoing conflict. He argued that NATO’s role is to defend member states and not to engage in military actions in other countries.
Orban, speaking in Hungarian with English subtitles, stated, “Instead of bringing weapons to Ukraine, we should bring peace. A ceasefire is necessary, and instead of war, peace negotiations should start as soon as possible.” He reiterated that Hungary’s position remains unchanged due to its proximity to Ukraine and the presence of a significant ethnic Hungarian community in Transcarpathia, which is currently endangered by the hostilities.
The annual NATO summit, attended by leaders of member countries, recently took place in Vilnius, Lithuania. While the bloc expressed strong rhetorical and logistical support for the Ukrainian government, it did not extend an invitation for Ukraine to join NATO.
Notably, the United States and its allies have reportedly provided over $100 billion worth of weapons, equipment, and ammunition to Ukraine since the escalation of hostilities with Russia in February 2022. They have also imposed a wide-ranging economic embargo on Moscow. However, these actions have been carried out while claiming not to be directly involved in the conflict.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, although not formally attending the summit, criticized NATO on social media for not giving Ukraine the proper “respect.” Zelensky accused the bloc of setting conditions for membership without offering a clear timeline. His comments indicate frustration with the lack of progress towards Ukraine’s desired NATO membership.
Hungary has consistently advocated for a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine conflict. It has refused to supply weapons to Kiev or allow their transit through its territory. This stance has often sparked disputes and exchanges of harsh words between Orban, Zelensky, and their respective officials.
Orban’s call for NATO to prioritize peace and ceasefire negotiations aligns with Hungary’s longstanding position on the Ukraine conflict. His emphasis on the need to protect the ethnic Hungarian community in Transcarpathia and the significance of border proximity further solidify his argument against the continued shipment of weapons.
As tensions in the region persist, it remains to be seen whether Orban’s plea will influence NATO’s approach and whether peace negotiations will gain momentum. The situation in Ukraine continues to be a pressing concern for regional stability, and finding a peaceful resolution without further escalation is crucial for all parties involved.